I am usually very careful about words that I let out of my mouth. I am a true believer in self-fulfilling prophecy, in that what I say or think, especially negative ones, would actually become a reality. Yet, I made a mistake last week of saying something along the line of not wanting to go on an upcoming business trip, and guess what life threw my way? A cancelled connecting flight and a lost luggage! Now, I’m just so thankful that I, and the luggage, eventually made it to the destination safely, and I am counting my blessings as I sit here and type this post in my comfortable hotel in a very lovely city of Roanoke in Virginia (and YAY, Aarti is going to the Food Network Star finale!).
I also believe in serendipity, a happy accident, that a small, unexpected detour can take one to a very special place. I had an accidental encounter while being bounced around from one terminal to another in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on that hectic morning when I walked by a kiosk for Vosges Haut Chocolat, a Chicago-based designer chocolate shop, created by Le Cordon Bleu grad, Katrina Markoff. I remember seeing something about her and her shop on Food Network many years ago on a show that featured up-and-coming food entrepreneurs so I got very curious when I saw a very tasteful displays of beautifully packaged confections.
I picked up two bars from the Exotic Chocolate Collections – Matcha Bar with Japanese matcha green tea with deep milk chocolate, and Black Pearl Bar with wababi, ginger, black sesame seeds and dark chocolate. I found it so cute that there are instructions on how to enjoy the bar: see, smell, snap, taste, and sense.
I didn’t think anything of it when I purchased those bars initially, assuming that they would be just another overpriced designer candy bars. I simply put them in my bag and continued with my business. After walking around aimlessly in the nation’s largest airport, I sat down, broke off the piece of the matcha bar (I was ready for a snack), and popped it in my mouth … and the rest was nothing short of magic. If you have seen the movie, Ratatouille, I’m sure you remember the scene when Ego, the food critic, took the first bite of Remy’s ratatouille. The flavors took him back to his childhood, where his mother made him the delicious homemade French vegetable stew that made all the bullying and sadness in his life go away. I felt a little bit like that when I took the first bite of the bar, that the frustrations of all the walking, the red-eye flight, and the unexpected canceled flight faded away, and felt like everything was going to be okay. I can truly say that I was saved by Vosge’s deep, relaxing, subtle yet intoxicating chocolate.
I think chocolate should be exactly that – not just a sugary snack, but an experience that would transport us to a beautiful place where nothing negative exists. With the chocolate from Vosges, I was suddenly ready to take on the world (and those customer service agents at the United Airlines counter — bring it!).